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Friday October 19th, 2012

Posted at 7:56am

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Photo by Kevin Chauvin

Sports fans on each side of the Detroit River had much reason to cheer Thursday night. The Detroit Tigers advanced to the World Series after completing the series sweep with an 8-1 blowout against the New York Yankees. Meanwhile, back home, the Windsor Spitfires’ two goals – and 47 shots – were enough to keep the Erie Otters at bay for a 2-1 victory at the WFCU Centre.

The Windsor Spitfires had their engines revving right out of the hangar for Thursday night’s game. Just 15 seconds into the opening period, the fists were flying…literally. Windsor’s tough guy Ty Bilcke and Erie’s Connor Crisp went toe-to-toe and left the fans in an early frenzy. Though the bout began favoring Crisp and his straight jabs, Bilcke answered with strikes of his own. He finished the fight by knocking Crisp’s helmet off (with a left punch) and wrestling him to the ground. The energy in the arena didn’t die down following the fight. The crowd cheered all the way to Kerby Rychel’s last second, shorthanded breakaway at the end of the period. After 20 minutes, the scoreboard stayed 0-0.

From the drop of the puck to start the second period, the Spitfires began to take control. They had plenty of chances on a 5-on-3, as well as great offensive zone cycling. Jaroslav Pavelka certainly had a strong game as he made important saves throughout the period. Strong defense was displayed by both teams throughout the period, playing man-to-man coverage. Late in the period, it was Windsor defenseman Patrick Sieloff who played an important role for the Spits. After delivering a clean, explosive hit to Hayden Hodgson along the boards, he was pounced on by Adam Pelech. Sieloff did not fight back and kept his composure during the little scrimmage. As a result, Pelech received a two-minute minor for instigating, a five-minute major for fighting, and a ten-minute misconduct. Thus, the Spitfires had themselves a potential seven minute power-play. And they took advantage of it. Sieloff managed to keep the puck in near the blue line and pushed it forward to Rychel. His shot from the boards beat Oscar Dansk with only six seconds left in the period.

Early in the third, the Spitfires remained on the power-play. Once again, with continuous pressure, they benefited with the extra player. Brady Vail saw Derek Schoenmakers skate around the net and head to the front. Vail’s pass connected with Schoenmakers, who slid the puck past Dansk’s left pad and into the net. The Spits were up 2-0. Just over ten minutes later, however, Erie came within a goal. Right out of the penalty box, Connor McDavid skated into the Windsor zone. J.P. Labardo found him in the slot and his wrist-shot was no match for Jaroslav Pavelka. In the late stages of the period, after Erie had pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, Windsor fired a couple of unsuccessful shots toward the empty net. The Spits didn’t add a third goal, but they held on and defeated the Erie Otters 2-1.

Windsor’s associate coach Bob Jones had a few points for his club for Thursday’s game: have a strong fore-check, exploit Erie’s defense and shut down the forwards. Earlier in the week, former Spitfires, and current Buffalo Sabres, Steve Ott and Mike Weber joined the team for a practice to assist the young stars. It was evident that the Spits stuck to their game plan during the course of the evening.

With Thursday night’s victory, coach Bob Boughner celebrated his 200th OHL career win.

Windsor will play five consecutive away games before coming back to the WFCU Centre November 1st to battle the London Knights.

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